Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Always List - Oxford Shirt

Sometimes in fashion we forget to praise the simple and classic. So often the focus and praise falls on the new, the flashy and even the odd. During the summer fashion shows a lot of articles praised Gucci for turning dress slacks into cutoff shorts, because they were a new idea; despite the look being so ugly and impractical that no one would wear them outside of a few fashion designers and label whores. Instead there should be an endless slew of articles about the practical, simple garments that fill our closets and actually get worn on a daily basis. Fashion writers should filter their approval and disapproval through a net of reality. Would anyone actually wear this crap? Will they wear it more than once? Will it be a mainstay in anyone’s closet for more than one soon to be forgotten season?

It is time we praise the mainstays of fashion, the essential clothing that no matter the trends are still worn; the pieces that we never fear may be out of style. We all love the simplest of pleasures in fashion, the articles of clothing that you can proudly call your favorite, not because they are trendy, but instead because they have earned that right after the 150th wash. Your favorite shirt was worn when you landed the job, met the girl, saw your team win the pennant, you beat your buddy in pool and won the wing eating contest. The favorites in any closet are always in style, are well made and will be still be made when you need a replacement, if you ever need a replacement. These items are on the “Always List” of fashion.

The Always List mainstay: the Oxford Shirt -

Every man has at least one Oxford shirt in his closet and most men have multiple oxfords. Hopefully, in your closet there are multiple oxfords in varying degrees of wear and tear.

  • The Dressy Oxford: Worn as a staple to the office because it goes with anything. This one is crisply ironed and fits like a champ. It is the nicest oxford in the closet and will go with a suit and tie as well as it does with a deconstructed blue blazer. The Dressy Oxford can be found at Ralph Lauren or Brooks Brother (pictured in order). The later has a great non-iron blue Oxford that can be worn for any occasion.

  • The Favorite Oxford: It has been washed so many times it certainly doesn’t have the same crispness it once did, but who needs crisp when you have comfort. It is the go-to-shirt when you need to have a button down shirt, yet you don’t know what else to wear. It’s perfect under a sweater for big date and always looks good under a jacket. It is also at home paired with a tie. At this point it prefers chinos or jeans, but don’t count it out with slacks. Basically it is a refined but slightly casual look., J Press & Ben Silver (pictured in that order) are the best Oxfords that after about 10 washes will be your favorite.

  • The Casual One: The oxford that has been washed and worn so many times it is slightly frayed at the collar cuffs and buttons, but due to the hefty fabric is still in quite good condition. As you wear your favorite more, it will get to this state. Until then J Crew and Gap (once again, in that order) provide options for those of us that lack patience. This Oxford is still a staple for a night out to the local bar or for errands on a Saturdays. It should be more important for any grown man's fashion rotation then a t-shirt, we are beyond the college humor shirts, or at least we should pretend we are. This is a great comprise, it is just as comfy, it will fit in on any Eastern campus and it adds refinement to the college humor shirt when it is layered over it.
A good oxford is like a favorite pair jeans or your go-to-boots. They only get better with time. It just might be the most versatile shirt in your closet and endorsed by the coolest guys, including Paul Newman. It is easy to make it your own, just wash it.

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